16 November 2005
NOLLI, Giovanni Battista (c.1692-1756). Nuova Pianta di Roma data in luce da Giambattista Nolli. Rome: 1748.
2° (480 x 360mm). Engraved wall map of Rome, (overall size of map, 1708 x 2061mm). The 17 sheets comprising 'To the author' letter and engraved title on one double-page sheet, an index on 4 double-page sheets, the map of Rome on 12 double-page sheets including vignettes of allegorical figures after Stefano Pozzi together with Rome's monuments, and the dedication to Pope Benedetto XIV on the base of a column, the map set in an elaborate rococco border, together with a double-page general map of the city in 'modern' times and a similar map of ancient Rome. (Light spotting.) 20th-century half calf, spine labelled in gilt.
THE FINEST OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY PLANS OF ROME and the first plan of the city based upon geodetic principles. With Rocque's plan of London and Bretez's plan of Paris, Nolli's plan ranks as one of the greatest eighteenth century plans of any European city. Rome essentially appears in its Renaissance form with large areas within the ancient walls still occupied by villas with extensive fields, orchards and gardens. The Colosseum, for example, still stands in virtually open country. Many important ancient sites, such as the Circus Maximus and the Forum, are shown in an unearthed state. The lower sheets are almost entirely taken up by lavish, finely-engraved ornamentation in the style of Piranesi. In the lower left corner is a montage of classical landmarks, including the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, the Forum and Trajan's Column, before which are allegorical figures including Romulus and Remus in the form of broken ancient statuary. The lower right corner contains an allegorical representation of the Church seated before Michaelangelo's assemblage of buildings on the Capitoline Hill. Frutaz CLXIXa.
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